Researchers at Germany's Friedrich Schiller University, using an experimental measuring device, suggest that men's and women's skin age at different rates.
The laser device determined levels of collagen and elastin -- proteins that affect skin's elasticity, tone and texture -- beneath the skin's surface, WebMD.com said Friday. Levels of these proteins usually drop with age.
Until now, a good way to measure skin aging short of removing the skin and studying it in a lab wasn't available, WebMD.com said.
The non-invasive laser procedure shows promise because it could eventually help consumers evaluate anti-aging skin products and assist doctors treat skin conditions, WebMD.com said.
Researchers used an imaging technique on the inner forearms of women and men ages 21 through 84, WebMD.com said. Using data to develop an index, researchers found that women's skin showed more evidence of aging than men of similar ages.
The difference was greater in post-menopausal women, WebMD.com said. One possibility researchers gave was the menopause-related drop in estrogen and progesterone, WebMD.com said.
Researchers said more study was needed to confirm the findings, including measuring the index against more established aging benchmarks.
Copyright 2006 by United Press International
Explore further: Majority of Americans avoid addressing end-of-life issues, new study finds